Living in Hamburg

Transport and Travel

Hamburg: Going green

Hamburg, and most of Germany in fact, can be easily explored using only public transportation. Hamburg's public transportation system is outstanding and the city is well-connected to the rest of Germany and Europe via trains and planes. A car is only necessary in the rarest of circumstances.

Public transport

Getting into and getting around Hamburg are both relatively easy and straightforward. Hamburg has an excellent public transport system. The U-Bahn and S-Bahn system of under and above ground subway trains, as well as the city buses, cover the city center extensively and the outlying areas quite thoroughly as well. The public transportation system includes boats that take commuters to the large Airbus plant just south of the Elbe as well as to numerous other points of interest and neighborhoods on the river and canals.

It may be worth getting a monthly season ticket for the public transport system in Hamburg. The so-called HVV ticket includes transport by metro, bus, night bus and ferries. The cost of the public transportation ticket is about EUR 90 for three weeks.


Perhaps the easiest way to get from one place to another is by bike. Since Hamburg is a relatively flat city, they are quick and efficient, especially in the summer when the weather is much better than during other seasons. 

The City Bike rental system allows riders to rent a bike to get from point A to point B and then return the bike to one of the numerous stations around the city. If the trip takes 30 minutes or less, the trip is free.

Planes, trains and automobiles

Hamburg’s main train station, or Hauptbahnhof, is centrally located downtown. Regional, national and international trains depart the main station continuously.  While rain travel can be pricey, it is not recommendable for students who stay in Germany for only a couple of weeks to buy the widely adversized BahnCard as it does not expire automatically but must be actively cancelled or will be automatically renewed for another year. Bus companies also offer less expensive alternatives for travel throughout Germany and Europe.

Hamburg’s International Airport is located in the city’s northeast and has several transportation options into town including public transportation options like the S-Bahn and city buses. Taxis are also readily available. Uber and other ride sharing companies are not legally allowed to operate in Germany. With so many feasible transportation options in and out of the city, an extensive public transportation system and flat, bikeable terrain, it is not necessary or even advisable to bring or rent a car. 

And on the rare occasion that one really can't get by without a car, cars and scooters are also available for at low rates through phone apps like Car2Go, DriveNow and emmy (scooters).

The subway sometimes even runs above ground (Horst Schmidt/Adobe Stock)
Bikes for rent (danr13/Adobe Stock)
Photo of City Bikes in HafenCity by R. K. Hegeler, Hamburg Marketing GmbH,
Rental bikes in the HafenCity neighborhood
Deutsche Bahn train
Taking off to explore Europe